The Importance of Caring: My Journey into Health Care – Nathan Fuerhoff

By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital  – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, June 2019

Nathan Fuerhoff, B.S., R.R.T, R.P.S.G.T, the director of Respiratory Care/Sleep Lab at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH), was always going to end up in health care. He knew it was the career for him since he was a teenager.

“I knew in high school that I wanted to work in health care, because I thought it was the best way I could make a difference in other people’s lives,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than knowing you helped someone who wasn’t feeling well and hopefully made their day better.”

His career path decided, Fuerhoff went to the University of Nebraska at Kearney after high school to get a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. He also received a certificate of respiratory care from Midland’s College. From there, he went on to get additional training in sleep diagnostics at Cox Memorial Health Systems in Springfield, Missouri.

Over the course of his health care career, Fuerhoff has worked in acute care, trauma, emergency, pediatric and home health settings, as well as outpatient diagnostic testing.

He moved to Columbus in 2005 to work as a respiratory therapist and help start CCH’s sleep lab. Fuerhoff moved into his current position as director of CCH’s Respiratory Care/Sleep Lab in December 2018.

In this position, Fuerhoff oversees the day-to-day operations of the hospital’s respiratory care department and its sleep lab, including employee scheduling, quality assurance, policy updates and budgeting. He also scores all the sleep studies done in the sleep lab and instructs patients on the use of the hospital’s home sleep study equipment.

Though Fuerhoff enjoys his job and always knew he wanted to be in health care, he didn’t necessarily see himself in the position he holds now.

“I can’t say that I always wanted to be in a leadership role,” he said. “But after being here for a few years and seeing how great the people and our facilities are and seeing the difference we make in our community; I knew I wanted to stay here and that’s when I probably starting thinking about taking more of a leadership role.”

CCH helped prepare Fuerhoff for this role thanks to its support of employee education and professional development.

“I get a level of support here at CCH that I’ve never received anywhere else I’ve been,” he said. “CCH provides endless educational opportunities for its employees by providing classes and financial support to attend other classes around the state.”

In addition to the educational opportunities CCH provides, Fuerhoff said the hospital also has a welcoming environment that encourages communication.

“Our senior leadership team has always been very open to taking time to sit and meet with me, as have any other employees here that I’ve reached out to,” he said.

That is one of the many reasons Fuerhoff is happy to work at CCH. He’s also thankful he ended up in health care – the career he picked for himself all those years ago.

“In my opinion, health care is the most rewarding field you can be in,” he said. “There are stressful times of course, but it’s all worth it when you see the look on patients’ faces or their families’ faces after you’ve helped them feel better.”

For more information on Fuerhoff and CCH’s respiratory care and sleep lab offerings, visit http://www.columbushosp.org.